Home telemental health implementation and outcomes using electronic messaging

J Telemed Telecare. 2012 Jan;18(1):17-9. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2011.100919. Epub 2011 Nov 3.


In 2007, the VA Connecticut Healthcare System began a home electronic messaging programme for mental health patients. During the first two years, 76 patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and substance-use disorders received a home messaging device, which was connected via an ordinary telephone line. There were daily questions, which were based on disease management protocols, and included alerts, data and educational components. Patient data were sent to a nurse practitioner each day for triage and follow-up. Patients used the device for at least six months. In the six months prior to enrolment, 42 patients were hospitalized for 46 admissions. In the following six months, six patients were hospitalized for nine admissions (P < 0.0001). In the six months prior to enrolment, 47 patients had a total of 80 ER visits. In the following six months, 16 patients had a total of 32 ER visits (P < 0.0001). Questionnaire responses indicated a high level of satisfaction with the home messaging programme.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community Mental Health Services / methods*
  • Community Mental Health Services / standards
  • Depression / therapy
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Schizophrenia / therapy
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine / methods*